"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has declared 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said on Saturday. The declaration will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed, the White House said in a statement."
Yet, just a few days ago, (21/10/09) this is what was reported on CBS News:
"H1N1 Misdiagnoses Could Have Consequences."
On "Washington Unplugged" Wednesday, moderator Sharyl Attkisson spoke to Wall Street Journal reporter Alicia Mundy and Politico's Fred Barbash about a CBS News investigation finding that many people who were diagnosed “probable” or “presumed” to have 2009 H1N1 or "swine" flu actually did not have flu at all.
The three-month investigation found, based on state-by-state test results, that only a small fraction of cases that doctors flagged as most likely to be swine flu actually tested positive for swine flu at state labs. The vast majority of cases were negative. "
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that H1N1 swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.
Obama signed the statement on Friday night."
The White House statement said the declaration was intended to prepare the country in case of "a rapid increase in illness that may overburden health care resources." It was similar to disaster declarations issued before hurricanes hit coastal areas."
"It's important to note that this is a proactive measure -- not a response to a new development," an administration official said."
"H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or healthcare systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly," he said."
Disaster plans? What might that mean? Quarantined zones? FEMA camps being used? The last paragraph of the Reuters' article gives a clue.
"The new declaration clears the way for waivers of federal requirements that, for example, could prevent hospitals from establishing off-site, alternate care facilities that could help them deal with emergency department demands, the White House said."
Off-site alternative care facilities? Quarantined areas, I reckon. And it would not surprise me if those FEMA camps*, sitting there with no occupants, are suddenly brought into action. I think these emergency powers given to Federal health officials are going to have far-reaching consequences in the very near future.
William Lewis and Gary Franchi on Alex Jones talking about "Camp FEMA."